The Chainlink

While we all hope that tragedy won't strike us, it's important to be prepared.  If your bike is stolen, and you hope to recover it, or make a claim on your lock or renter's insurance, this is some of the information you may want to have on hand.  You can also use the attached Word document to print out for your own files.

 

Make:

 

Model:

 

Color:

 

Size:

 

Serial Number (often found under the bottom bracket):

 

Where/When purchased:

 

Modifications/Distinguishing Characteristics

 

 

 

Check list of best practices:

__ Keep a copy of receipt

__ Register bike with local police/city For Chicago: https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/Onlin...

__ Registration with Stolen Bike Registry http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/ There is a $10 fee, apparently police throughout the country use it. I’m not endorsing this, just letting you know it is there

__ Buy a quality lock and USE IT properly.

        -Lock to a secure object

        -Lock in a safe area

        -Lock the frame and the wheels

        -For extra protection use two locks, even better: use two kinds of locks

__ Register your bike with your lock manufacturer. When you buy a lock with this benefit, registration is generally one of the steps for getting it replaced

__ If your bike is expensive, you also can add a rider to your home or renters policy for the bike

__ Have pictures of your bike, preferably with you in them

 

Other techniques:

__ Place a piece of paper with your name/address/phone number inside your bike.  You can place something in the handlebars, in the seatpost, or underneath your bar tape.

__ Engrave your information on the bike itself

__ Intentionally make your bike distinctive by adding stickers, covering up the name brand, etc.  This is personal preference.

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Please add additional comments for things that should be added and I can update the top post.
We're working on a registration feature for the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry-- will announce it here when it's ready to roll out.

Some general comments:

-I've heard from multiple sources that in the post-911 insurance climate a lot of ensurers have adopoted a "2 claims you're dropped" policy for homeowner's insurance. I would not claim anything worth less than a few thousand dollars, and resultantly choose to shave off a fair percentage on premiums by opting for a very high deductible (currently 5k I think.) I would absolutely claim a stolen bike on renter's insurance if I could have it.

 

-In my opinion the main benefit of registering your bike is that you can print something out that can serve as additional proof of ownership (plus it forces you to record your serial number at least once)-- in some cases it seems that info may be hard to access down the road if you don't have your own copy-- so I'd add a note to print or at least screen shot during any registration process.

Thanks Eric -  If there is much interest, I also figured that I could turn it into a fillable PDF, but I didn't want to take the time if I should have entered many more items.

 

Actually, then I got to thinking that it would be cool to make a little web application that would generate a bike ownership printout into one document.  Like you could upload your picture right there and also enter the information.  I wasn't sure if that would be useful or not.  Plus, I don't have the skills to do that.

This is exactly what the feature being added to CSBR does. It sends you a pretty .pdf certificate per e-mail with a picture of your bike and all the info neatly displayed.

jamimaria said:

Thanks Eric -  If there is much interest, I also figured that I could turn it into a fillable PDF, but I didn't want to take the time if I should have entered many more items.

 

Actually, then I got to thinking that it would be cool to make a little web application that would generate a bike ownership printout into one document.  Like you could upload your picture right there and also enter the information.  I wasn't sure if that would be useful or not.  Plus, I don't have the skills to do that.

Here's an idea-- drop $20 and get stickers printed up with a bogus business name or URL and your cell phone number.

If the bike gets stolen you can just tell people "If you see it call the number on the sticker."

 

That's a cool idea, Howard. And if you want to hide your cellphone number, you can use Google Voice. 

H3N3 said:

Here's an idea-- drop $20 and get stickers printed up with a bogus business name or URL and your cell phone number.

If the bike gets stolen you can just tell people "If you see it call the number on the sticker."

 

Exactamente-- Google voice would definitely be the way to go.

 

I like Bikeregistry.com which is a free service to register your bike and they sell nice registration stickers too for only $.99/set.

 

Their checklist of identifying features is pretty good as well when marking your bike with their stickers and other strategies.

 

They are smaller than the pay services but growing fast.  Paying $10 for other companies is a bit usurious if you ask me -especially as it expires fairly quickly.    Bikeregistry is affiliated with Goodwill Industries and if nothing else it's a good safe&secure place to park your information so you can access it later if your bike turns up missing.   They also keep the stolen bike up in the registry forever instead of giving up after 6 months like the pay service I linked above.

 

At the very least someone who owns a bike owes it to themselves to document their bike with details like size, components, accessories, and most importantly the SERIAL NUMBER.  You'd be surprised at how many people don't even have that number recorded anywhere and are unable to provide it for a police report once it is stolen.   $10 to register you bike is a LOT, especially if you have more than one like some of us.  Free is good, and at the very least if you go to the work to document your bike and keep that information in a safe place you'll be way ahead when it comes time to file a police report.

 

 

Awesome! looking forward to getting it!

H3N3 said:
This is exactly what the feature being added to CSBR does. It sends you a pretty .pdf certificate per e-mail with a picture of your bike and all the info neatly displayed.

jamimaria said:

Thanks Eric -  If there is much interest, I also figured that I could turn it into a fillable PDF, but I didn't want to take the time if I should have entered many more items.

 

Actually, then I got to thinking that it would be cool to make a little web application that would generate a bike ownership printout into one document.  Like you could upload your picture right there and also enter the information.  I wasn't sure if that would be useful or not.  Plus, I don't have the skills to do that.

Bike marking strategies.

 

I like the idea of a piece of paper rolled up and put into the handlebars or maybe the seatpost.  Just be sure it doesn't slide down and end up as a moisture trap in the Bottom Bracket.  Paper can be laminated and it is pretty easy to take some clear wax and heat it up over a gas stove burner to make paper waterproof after it is printed on. This is a trick I use with backpacking maps and instructions/cheat-sheets to weather-proof them as plain paper instructions self-destruct in the presence of moisture over a very short time. 

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